Boulder County students add voices to national drive for climate change awareness

Students from all over Boulder County left class and took to the streets Friday afternoon to call on their government officials to support drastic and immediate action regarding climate change.

As part of a larger international movement started by Greta Thunberg, a 16yearold Swedish activist who began forfeiting her attendance in school on Fridays to protest the politicians who have failed to pass policies that act to solve our current environmental crisis, the Boulder march was just one of hundreds organized around the world.

“If our politicians are not creating sensible legislation that will protect our futures with a sustainable and habitable planet, there‘s no point in sitting here doing math and history,” said Michael Jacobs, a sophomore at the University of Colorado and one of the Boulder Youth Climate March‘s student organizers working at Earth Guardians.

Allie Hummer of Silver Creek High School wears the colors to show her passion for fighting climate change and bringing awareness to the issue, along with other Boulder-area students who were joined by students from Conifer and Leadville on Friday at Boulder‘s Central Park bandshell and participated in a march. ()

“A lot of these kids aren‘t even old enough to vote yet, so they feel that their opinions and their voice is drowned out and we‘ll be left dealing with way worse effects from climate change.”

Starting at Boulder‘s Glen Huntington Bandshell, roughly 250 students marched down Pearl Street and circled back to the bandshell, where several students, some as young as 10, made speeches calling on their government leaders to support green infrastructure, reduce carbon emissions and stop new fossil fuel developments.

Several organizations, including Protect Our Oceans, Respect Your Mother Recycling, Climate Reality, Earth Guardians and Yerba Mate, also set up tables at the event to teach people about various sustainable practices and how they can help progress the movement.

Additionally, the organizing groups Earth Guardian and Climate Reality released a statement demanding legislation to reduce limit greenhouse gas emissions in line with the October 2018 IPCC Special Report goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and also outlawing the creation of new fossil fuel infrastructure including pipelines, coal plants and fracking sites.

They also encouraged Boulder County and CUto sign the Climate Reality Project‘s 100% Committed Campaign pledging to switch their power usage to 100 percent renewable energy.

Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Boulder, attended a student-led climate strike on Friday at the Central Park bandshell in downtown Boulder. Boulder-area students were joined by students from Conifer and Leadville, all of whom were part of a larger global movement. ()

In an attempt to keep the march as non-partisan as possible and show that climate change is not a political tool, the organizers were clear that in order for these goals to be reached the government must find an equitable way to transition people who make their living in the fossil fuel industry to the renewable sector.

“No matter what side your on politically, everybody wants a future. And for that to happen, we all have to come together,” Althea Wilson, a 17-year old junior at Cheyenne Mountain High School said. “This issue is not going to pick and choose who it affects.”

Though the organizers were hoping for a larger turnout, their message was clearly heard by the local leadership. In attendance were Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Boulder, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones, and Boulder County commissioners Elise Jones and Matt Jones. All pledged to continue pushing climate policy at a city, county, state and national level.

“Climate change is an existential threat that we must begin tackling head on immediately,” Neguse said.

“In Colorado, we see the impact already on our public lands, our snowmelt and water supply. It was incredibly encouraging to see so many young people out at today‘s march, calling attention to this important issue and raising their voices in support.”

Neguse added, “Understanding the impact climate change will have on this next generation and generations to come, including my daughter‘s, truly highlights the urgency of this issue.”

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